Short Story Sunday: Night Call

Max pulled off his shirt and looked in the mirror.

“Damn,” he said to himself.

It wasn’t that he was incredibly good looking, which he was. It wasn’t the defined six pack and the perfect pecs, or even the amazing biceps, or the sexy forearms, or even the perfect broad shoulders.

It was the deep scratches, ugly bites, and large scrapes. There were also a couple of shallow stab wounds. All were either circled in red, or a putrid green.

He’d gone to what he thought was a typical call to help out some pretty clueless and helpless overly Gothic Vampires, and ended up in a nightmare.

The two Gothic Vampires were sitting in his living room watching “Long Shot” on Netflix, and drinking wine laced with Poet’s Blood.

Max looked in the mirror at his teeth. Thank goodness nobody had hit him in the mouth. He couldn’t risk losing a fang. Fangs took forever to grow back, not to mention the excruciating pain of it all.

What Max thought would be a routine call ended up being a three hour ordeal with not only Vampire Hunters but with a couple of random Demons who were lurking around for left overs.

After taking a shower and putting salve on his wounds, Max put on a soft sweatshirt and went to see his guests.

A small woman dressed in black lace, and a slim young looking man with long dark hair and a velvet jacket, sat close to each other on his couch.

They thanked Max for saving him. They were good kids, only about fifty years old. He was glad to have saved them from evil.

“I’ll send a security crew out to your home to make sure you have a good video system in and the right kind of locks and alarms. I also know a Witch who can do some spells to help. I know, you might not like Witches but the one I know does low level spells to give Vampire Hunters painful hives and blindness if they try to enter your home. It works like a charm.”

Max sat down and poured himself some wine, minus the blood.

Then they all watched Shitt$ Creek and laughed, knowing that tomorrow would be a new night, and that they were safe… at least for now.

~ end

Stay safe. Get your shots. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Check in on those who are alone or might need extra help. Talk to your kids. Hug a dog. And kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Chicken Dance

“You don’t have to wear that mask Charlie. I’m not sick.”

“Mom, there is a pandemic going on. I don’t want you to become sick. I can’t risk that.”

“Well, I don’t go anywhere.”

“I go places mom. I’m out in public.”

“What about Austin? He sees me without a mask.”

“I’m part of your bubble Grammy.” said Austin. “Most of my work is from home. Remember I told you about teaching my classes on Zoom.”

Grammy furrowed her brow. “Zoom? Is that fast classes so you won’t spread the Covid?”

“No Grammy, it is classes over the computer, on the Internet,” said Austin.

“Well, if you’re not teaching or messing around with old houses you’re working with dead people. Damn Vampires can’t get the Covid. At least my grandson decided to follow in the family footsteps and do something about the vermin,” said Grammy.

“So how are you mom,” said Charlie.

“Chicken died,” said Grammy.

Austin spoke first. “What? Chicken? Did raccoons get her?”

“When did this happen?” Charlie asked his mother.

“This morning,” said Grammy.

“Mom. Oh no. How?”

“I don’t know. I think Kayla killed her.”

“Grammy, why would Kayla kill Chicken?” Austin knew Grammy’s caretaker would never hurt any animal.

“I don’t know. Maybe she just got tired of her,” said Grammy.

“How did she kill Chicken?” Charlie asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe she chopped off Chicken’s head.”

“Mom, Kayla didn’t kill Chicken.”

“You don’t know that,” said Grammy

“Mom…”

“Austin, have you been hunting any Vampires lately?”

“No, things have slowed down over the holidays and haven’t picked up, thank goodness,” said Austin.

“Maybe Vampires got Chicken,” said Charlie.

“Don’t be a smart ass Charles. You know they don’t eat chicken, much less suck out their blood,” said Grammy.

“I wouldn’t know mom. I never hunted Vampires.”

“You never had the talent for it. Austin on the other hand got that gene for sniffing out and killing those pesky damned undead creatures.”

Kayla, Grammy’s caretaker came in followed by a small pack of small dogs. “Good morning. Hey, his Charlie. It’s been a while.”

They made a few words of small talk as the dogs bounced all over Charlie and Austin.

Then Kayla said, “We lost Chicken.”

“I know, we heard,” said Austin.

“She was pecking at some wires so that might have killed her. I don’t know. She might have just died of natural causes. Poor Chicken.”

They talked more about Chicken and made more small talk. Then Grammy said, “Go out in the yard Austin and get some lemons. We’re going to make a lemon pie.”

“Good idea,” said Charlie.

“It will keep the Vampires away. They don’t much like pie,” said Grammy. Then she giggled like a little girl.

“She was one of the most fierce Vampire Hunters of the 20th Century,” Charlie told Kayla.

“I can believe that Charlie,” Kayla said with a smile. “She is still pretty fierce.”

“You’re right about that,” said Charlie. “You certainly are.”

~ end

This is my first new story for quite a few weeks. All of the Covid isolation, construction at my house, and other weirdness has sort of, well, not been conducive to creativity. As always, stay safe, wear a mask, turn off the news, go for walks, talk to and with your kids, listen to your kids, don’t be a dick, be kind, and kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My Own Vampire (A Christmas Story for 2020)

No amount of coffee could help Austin Durant out of his funk. Everyone knew Austin as a history professor and restorer of historic buildings. Only a few knew he was also a vampire hunter. 

A visit to his Grammy usually cheered him up. Grammy always knew what to say. He fixed her a plate of Christmas cookies he’d baked the day before and drove over to her house. He told her he’d be there in the morning with muffins, but he needed his sleep.

“Sorry I’m late Grammy,” said Austin. “I got a call last night about a job. I had to take it.”

“What kind of job? Teaching? Construction? Vampire hunting?”

“Vampire hunting. I hate doing this around the holidays Grammy, but it was bad. I couldn’t say no.”

“You look like crap. What happened?”

“Since the pandemic lock-downs in February there have been a lot of similar suicides. It is always some guy who lives alone. It is always someone who is depressed and hurting.”

“Go on,” said Grammy. “Tell me about this vampire.”

 “She finds them on dating aps.”

“What’s a dating ap?”

“It is a computer program, an application where people post photos and information so they can meet.”

“For sex?”

“Sure, usually, but not always. Anyway, she goes online…”

“On her computer?”

“Yes, on her computer. She finds guys who are lonely and alone. Then she goes to their house for what the victim thinks is going to be a hot night with a hot girl. A day, or week later, the guy is found in the bathtub with his wrists slit. It is clearly a suicide due to loneliness or whatever.”

“You want a beer?”

“Sure. Sometimes she stays and has sex with them then kills them. Other times she just kills them. The worst thing is… she goes on Facebook…”

“I have a Facebook account.”

“Right, she goes on their page pretending to be the guy right before she killed him and talks about being depressed and lonely. She talks about not wanting to spend Christmas alone. She pretends to be the guy she just killed. Then she fills up a cooler with his blood, puts him in the tub, and turns on the water so whoever finds him assumes all of his blood went down the drain.”

“She sounds like a creeper to me. Did you kill her?”

“Yeah, I did. I got in contact with her. I asked if she wanted to hook up and had her meet me in that house over on 37thI’m doing the restoration on.”

“What did she look like?”

“Gorgeous. She had on a tight red dress and a Santa hat no less. But there was no life in her eyes, and her skin had that sort of chalky dry look a lot of them get if they haven’t fed for a while. I told her I wasn’t looking for anything except sex. She was fine with it. I took her to a bedroom and killed her, for a second time.”

“How?”

“I held her down and cut out her heart. She didn’t have much blood in her so, you know, there wasn’t much of a mess.”

“So why are you looking like you lost your puppy? It isn’t like she had a soul.”

“I checked in her purse. Her name was Sandy. She was born in 1960. I looked her up. She disappeared in 1981. It was always assumed she was murdered considering the amount of blood found in her bedroom. December 13, 1981, she lost her life, and her soul. The thing I killed wasn’t her, but it carried around her wallet for thirty years.”

“I hope you hid the body.”

“She kind of dried up and looked like she’d been dead for, well, thirty years. I took her to a field and called the police with a burner phone. Forensics will show she has been dead since the day she vanished.”

“Her family will be sad, but relieved. Believe me, I’ve been through this more times than I want to think about.”

“Grammy, I don’t know why this one hit me so hard. It wasn’t like she was the kind of vampire we don’t kill.”

“Speak for yourself young man.”

“Ones with a soul. They’re not all ghouls without substance.”

“So they tell you.”

“So you’ve told me.”

“I’m not dissing on your cold blooded friends. I’ve got vampires of my own. I bet you didn’t know that. That’s right, you just think I’m a crusty old lone vampire hunter. Let me tell you a story. Bring me another beer too. Did I ever tell you how I met your Grandpa Joe?” 

“No, you did not.”

“Well, I’ll tell you now. It was December 23, almost Christmas Eve. I was driving down the road and almost hit a young woman walking along the edge. Holy crap balls, she was wearing a torn party dress with her coat over her shoulder, and tears in her eyes. She said her boyfriend had dumped her on the side of the road when she broke up with him. So I took her home. No big deal. 

The next night I was sitting in a bar. It was 1950 but it wasn’t all June Cleaver and all of that bull shit. Some of us had lives. I was twenty one and a free American so I thought I could do whatever I wanted to do. I was also one bad ass vampire hunter by then. God damn I could pick them out no matter how hard they tried to hide from me. There I was sitting at the bar chatting up a couple of nice young fellows, not really looking for trouble. You know Austin, even then I was hunting more than my share of vampires. Sometimes a girl just needs a night off. You know, cute blue collar guys. When this man comes in an sits next to me. I can feel the cold and believe me it wasn’t from the open door. 

Damn, if he wasn’t the best looking thing I’ve ever seen outside of a movie theater. He looks at me with big brown eyes, then those eyes start to turn dark. If I hadn’t been in a public place I would have either run or jumped his bones then killed him.”

“Granny!”

“Oh, come on Austin. I was young once. Don’t think you’re the only one who has rolled in the hay with vampires. Stop interrupting me. So, I asked him what he wants. His eyes turn a hazel green and I almost swoon, but then get my wits because that is what vampires do. They seduce like nothing else. Damn. I resist. He smiles. Then he thanks me for giving his daughter a ride home the night before. His daughter. Before then I didn’t even know vampires have children. 

Then he says, I know you’re alone this Christmas. You want people to think you’re tough. You’re a vampire hunter so your blood should be as cold as mine, figuratively speaking. You’re alone. Your man dumped you for a woman you considered a whore. Your family is all gone. You’re too proud to reach out to any of your fair weather drinking buddies.

Before I could tell him he didn’t know what he was talking about, even though everything he said was the truth, he handed me a card.

Thomas Kent
Poet

And there was an address. It was the same beautiful home I’d dropped his daughter off at the night before.

Come over later tonight, he said. 

What do you mean by Poet? I asked. I wasn’t nice about it either. Who the hell puts Poet on their business card?

He leaned in close to my ear and said, it means exactly that.

I nearly froze to the bone, but damn it he was attractive in a way I couldn’t explain. I was drawn to him, not in a romantic way, but in a warm way, like going to a Christmas party with Champagne and really good chocolates, and you’re wearing the perfect dress, and it looks damn good on you. I’d already killed nearly three dozen of the blood sucking ghouls in my short life, but this was different.

You’re different Thomas Kent, I said to him.

He smiled without a hint of fang. I have a soul, he said. In fact, I have two souls.

Austin squinted at his Grammy. “You didn’t know there were different kinds of vampires?”

“Not back then. Like that girl you saw last night. She was nothing but a shell. But Thomas Kent never lost his soul, but holy bat shit the man was still a vampire. I’d never encountered one of them before. By them I mean his kind.”

“Did you go to his house?”

“Of course I did. If you get an invitation from a vampire it isn’t always the best idea to turn it down. I would have killed them all if they’d shown any aggressions. Don’t look surprised grandson, I was the best there was back in the day.”

“I know you were Grammy.”

“I went to the house, which is in a beautiful part of town, you know where it is. I got up to the front door and looked at the card to see if I had the right address. It had been raining the night before and I just dropped the girl off. It was the damndest thing. As I stepped up to the front door the address vanished off of the card. Completely vanished. 

Some stiff man in a dark suit, I think he was the hired help butler kind of guy answered the door. I wanted to call him Count Orlok but held my tongue. Thomas Kent came up to me with his hands out and let me into the room. His daughter stood by the fireplace as beautiful as any living woman. The most wonderful Christmas Tree I had ever seen was there, decorated all in silver and gold. The place was beautiful, not the usually dusty creepy vampire lair I was used to. I would have lived there. 

Then Thomas takes me aside and says to me it would be so easy to turn you from vampire hunter to vampire tonight. I know you like what you see.

Then he smiled at me flashing a hint of fang. I was ready to pull out my dagger, when just like in some stupid movie, the doorbell rang, and the butler brought in a tall young man. He had that cute boyish look with dimples and light brown hair that was just a little too long. The guy wasn’t a vampire, that was clear. He put out his nice warm hand and introduced himself as Joe.”

Austin stopped her. “Grandpa? That was how you met Grandpa?”

“That was your Gramps. He had no idea vampires even existed. He had no idea there were people like me who roamed the streets at night keeping everyone safe from ghouls and shadows. 

Later that night, after wine and a lot of interesting stories, Thomas spoke to me in private. He thanked me for helping his daughter and told me he’d always have my back. He said I will be your vampire. If you help a vampire it will always be there for you.” 

Austin raised an eyebrow. “Did he? Was he always there for you?”

“I don’t know. I never saw him again after that night. I married your Gramps three month later. Damn I miss him. It has been ten years and it feels sometimes like he died yesterday.”

“I miss him too Grammy. I miss him every single day.”

“I gotta ask you Austin. Do you have your own vampire?”

“I think I have a few.”

“Good to know. Still if I were you I wouldn’t trust them too much.”

“I never put down my guard Grammy.”

“Good. You know what else?”

“What Grammy?”

“They have the prettiest Christmas trees.”

“Good to know Grammy. I’ll keep that in mind the next time a vampire invites me over at Christmas time.”

They had another beer and Austin took a nap on Grammy’s couch. Her old cat curled up by his side, keeping eye open, only as the cat of a vampire hunter will do.

On the way home that evening Austin thought about Sandy and how difficult it must have been for her family never knowing what happened to her. He smiled thinking of my own family, and of his own vampires. Like his family, they watch his back. And as their human he watched theirs. 

Instead of going home he stopped by his on and off girlfriend Elizabeth’s house. Grammy was right about the Christmas Trees. Elizabeth’s was spectacular covered with glass ornaments shaped like every sort of animal and sea creature on earth. 

Later as they cuddled on the couch watching LA LA Land for the 4th time he kissed her cold lips. 

“Will you be my vampire Elizabeth?”

“I’m already your vampire Austin.”

“Good to know. Love you baby.”

She nuzzled his neck, nipping him with her teeth. “Love you too. Merry Christmas.”

~ end

Short Story Sunday: Gerald Atkins Vampire Hunter

“Now take that Gerald Atkins. He was the worst Vampire Hunter I’d ever seen. He could spot them but that was about it.”

“What was wrong with him?” Austin poured Grammy another cup of coffee.

“Oh he thought he was so suave showing up all dressed up like Sam Spade in his over coat and hat, smoking those smelly cigarettes of his.”

Grammy put some half and half in her coffee and continued. “Gerald would do stupid things like show up with holy water he’d gotten from a nun down at the Catholic church. I told him that he’d just as well throw Coca Cola at a Vampire for all the good it would do. I believe he was having sexual intercourse with that nun. Sister Ann was her name. I bet half the babies in that orphanage where hers.”

“They weren’t her children,” said Austin.

“You don’t know that Austin.”

“Oh Grammy.”

“Just let me finish my story. Gerald Atkins was an idiot. He showed up at a party with his detective get up, with his briefcase full of holy water, a cross, and some old spike he carved out of a 2×4 piece of lumber. Of course he had a knife too but I doubt if he ever sharpened it. The man was goddamn lazy if you ask me.

In a back room back away from all of the drug addicts doing their cocaine on the glass top tables Gerald Atkins finds a couple of Vampires hanging out. There’s a male and a female. Mr. Vampire looks like he belongs to one of those hair bands. It was the 80’s you know. Miss Vampire wore a royal blue silk dress with the back open almost down to her butt crack. So Gerald Atkins takes a look at then and throws his holy water at them. It splashes all over Miss Vampire’s expensive dress and does nothing but make a bunch of stains. The Vampires jump all over Gerald’s ass and suck enough blood out of him to almost kill him, but not quite. Then they dump him in a gutter.

He wakes up in the hospital blubbering on about Vampires. The doctors were convinced he had bats in his attic and was full goose bat shit loony, and locked him up in the mental ward for a few days.

Another time he decided he wanted to date a Vampire woman. Gerald Atkins was so stupid thinking he might get lucky before he killed her. He talked her up trying to tell her how beautiful she was in a cool sort of way. She listened to him and beat him to any game he might have been trying to play. He ends up telling her his life story and about all of his pathetic sorry romances except for his diddling Sister Ann. He never dared speak of Sister Ann but everybody knew about them. Everybody.

Then the fool thinks the Vampire woman is falling for him because she is smiling so sweetly and making her eyes go all twinkly and pretty the way Vampires do. That Vampire woman tied Gerald Atkins naked to a bed in a fancy hotel and left him with the bill. She never took a stitch of her clothing off. Just left him there naked as the day he was born with a couple of holes in his neck. Idiot.”

“Is he still hunting Vampires Grammy?”

“Gosh no. Those Vampires got tired of his shenanigans and cut his head off one night. They left him in the Old City Cemetery with his body laid out on a random grave and his head on top to the tombstone.”

“That’s awful,” said Austin.

Grammy shook her head. “Not really Austin. He wasn’t careful or smart like we are. He never did his research. He could tell if someone was a Vampire but he sure didn’t have any talent to hunt them down properly. He gave us all a bad name.”

Austin offered Grammy more coffee. She nodded yes.

“No thanks. I will have another one of those sugar cookies you made. I’ll take two.”

“Do you think you’ll ever hunt Vampire again?” Austin asked his Grammy half joking. Just half.

Grammy took a bite of cookie and thought a bit. Then she smiled at her grandson. “I don’t know. I can’t run like I used to but you never know. They wouldn’t expect an old lady like me now would they.”

Austin just smiled and took a cookie. No they wouldn’t expect anyone like his Grammy. Nobody ever expected Grammy.

~ end

Short Story Sunday: Good Bones

The house had good bones. It would stand through a 8.0 magnitude earthquake if there were earthquakes where they stood. The first residents in 1906 had felt the San Francisco quake as well as the one in 1989 but there was never any damage. It was faint, like the ingrained presence of Vampires and Ghosts.

Austin Durant, History Professor, restorer of historic buildings, and Vampire Hunter, had been hired to restore the house, a once lavish structure filled with painted over wood work and seventy five years of unfortunate remodels. He’d brought along Kayden, a graduate student in history who’d been living with him due to the pandemic.

“If these walls could talk…” said Kayden looking around in what must have been at one time a grand salon.

“They can talk,” said Austin as he knocked quietly on the walls as he walked around the room.

“What are you looking for?” Kayden asked.

“Structural anomalies, possible pest damage, previous residents,” said Austin.

“Previous residents? Like bodies in the walls?”

“You never know.”

The two explored the house, Austin leading and answering Kayden’s questions. They’d traced the history of the house back to the original owners in 1889. The home was originally 2,000 square feet, but now it stood at 3,200 square feet with the additions of a large kitchen, sunroom and other undocumented additions.

Kayden opened an old beaten up oak wardrobe in one of the larger bedrooms. “So what if there had been a body in here. You know, like an old body from the 1920’s or something. What would you do?”

“I’d call the police and have them send someone out to take a look and remove it. Of course I’d try to figure out who it was and do some investigating of my own before anyone else looked at it.”

“Have you ever found a body?”

“A few times.”

“Wow, really?”

Austin was ready to tell one of his more interesting stories when he felt the hair on the back of his neck raise and felt a slight chill run through his body.  He turned around   to see the owner of the property standing in the doorway.

Even in the stifling heat, wearing shorts and a casual short sleeved shirt, Constantine Evans looked elegant and put together.

“If you’re looking for bodies or Ghosts there aren’t any in here,” said Constantine.

“Good to know,” said Austin. “Let me introduce you. Constantine, this is Kayden. Kayden, Constantine Jones, the owner of this house.”

“Hi. Great house. Should we have our masks on?” asked Kayden.

“No,” said Constantine. “You’re safe.”

Austin smiled slightly. “Constantine knew the original owners.”

“Wow they must have been really old,” said Kayden.

“Not really,” said Constantine. “The house was fabulous. He died in the war to end all wars, then she sold the place and moved to God knows where. They had such great parties. It was such a shame. The place was never the same after that.” He made a dramatic turn towards towards Kayden. “Now it will be magnificent again, thanks to Austin.”

Austin knew Kayden wanted to question Constantine about what he’d just said and was glad the young man had kept his thoughts on the subject to himself.

“I understand you’re getting a masters degree in History Kayden. We’ll have to talk more. I have so many stories about this house and the city we live in. So many stories,” Constantine said.

“Sounds like a plan. You and Kayden can talk later,” said Austin, “but we have to get going. I’ll go over the final blueprints with you tomorrow. How about I meet you here around ten tomorrow morning?”

“Sounds good to me,” said Constantine now smiling with amused eyes in that way that says I know what you’re thinking and I find it extremely funny.

As they drove back to Austin’s house Kayden talked on and on about how cool the house was. He also talked about how interesting the owner seemed and that he’d like to talk more with him.

Austin kept his thoughts to himself. How could he possibly explain to Kayden that one had to always proceed with caution, especially with a Vampire. How could he even explain to Kayden that there are Vampires.

On the other hand it was 2020. Vampires? No big deal, all things considering.

“Hey Kayden, when we get back to the house there are some things I need to tell you, and show you. You have to first promise me you’ll keep and open mind.”

“Sure. What about?”

“The owner of the house and a few other things. Just keep an open mind.”

“You know me. I’m pretty open.”

Austin just kept driving, and thinking about what kind of can of worms he was getting this kid into. On the other hand, like he’d thought before, it is 2020.

 

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: True Friends

True Friends

The scratching noise was driving him nuts.

“What do you plan on doing with them?” James leaned back in his chair and downed his wine.

“I’m not sure,” said Andrew. “I’ve never had an infestation this bad before.”

“You should just kill them. I’ll help you.”

“They’ve already ruined the rugs in the living room. Damn it James, you were with me when I purchased the Turkish Kilim. I’ve had it for eighty years. I loved that rug.”

“I know a guy who might be able to fix it. He can do wonders with blood stains.”

“It isn’t the stains. Look at the holes in it. Totally ruined.”

James stood up and walked around the rug. “I think we should kill them and dump their bodies in the bay. Or I know a guy who can do that for us.”

Andrew stood in front of the window looking out at rain coming down on his back garden. This was his home. It was his sanctuary. “I should have never opened the front door without looking first, but I thought it might be a neighbor or delivery.”

James came over and put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Damn Vampire Hunters.”

Andrew signed and said. “James, why don’t you call your guys. All of your guys. I don’t want to deal with this.”

“Good idea. No need to have to change our clothes. By the way I love your sweater. Cashmere?”

“It is. Soft as my cat. Shawna gave it to me.”

“Good to see you’re finally dating someone with good taste.”

They both looked up. The scratching and muffled screams started again.

Andrew picked his keys up off of the table. “Lets go to breakfast. Solid food sounds good this morning.”

“I know what you mean. I over did it on the blood last night. Holy crap did I ever over do it. I could use some coffee. Bacon too. We have to have bacon.”

“Bacon is always good. Call your guys on the way there. I’ll leave the back door open.”

No need to explain anything else except that friends are always there for each other.  That is always a good thing. xoxoxo

 

~ end

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman